Ox Cart Days 2021 Veteran's Recognition Ceremony honors four
Robert 'Bob' Blazek, Paul Henre, Daryl 'Oscar' Meyer, and Greg Newhouse were honored during the festival week at the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon's Ox Cart Days 2021 Veteran's Recognition Ceremony held at the University of Minnesota Crookston University Teaching & Outreach Center.
Here are bios on each veteran:
Honoree Robert “Bob” Blazek
Robert Blazek entered the MN Army National Guard in Crookston on July 14, 1972 after talking with Bravo Company’s Commander at the time, 1st Lt. Glen Darst, from Greenbush MN where Bob lived.
Bob entered basic training at Fort Polk Louisiana in December 1972 right after his 18th birthday. He completed basic training on April 28, 1973.
He began his service in Crookston with the MN Army National Guard. Bob served fulltime at Thief River Falls and served his final two years of service in Virginia MN and Cloquet MN.
Robert’s military training and schooling was completed at: Basic training -- Fort Polk Louisiana in 1972-73, Recruiting Schools -- Fort Benjamin Harrison Indiana in 1981, ANCOC/SNCOC as an Honor Grad – Roseville MN in 1983-84, and Advanced Recruiting School – Little Rock Arkansas in 1986.
Bob spent 9 years as a recruiter and all his time served was stateside.
Service Awards and Medals Received: Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Good Conduct Medal 3rd Award, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with 3 Oak Leaf Clusters, National Defense Service Medal 2nd Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, NCO Professional Development Ribbon 4th Award, Army Service Ribbon, National Guard Recruiter Badge – Master, Expert in Competition Badge – Bronze, and Expert Qualification Badges – M-16 Rifle, .45 Caliber Pistol, M-60 Machine Gun
Robert was discharged on April 1, 1994 from HHC(Det.1) 1st BN 94th Armored in Cloquet MN with the Rank of E7/SFC
Robert and his spouse, Tracy, have 5 children. Jerad Blazek, Jason and Kari Blazek, Angela and Greg Pogue, Chris and Megan Blazek and Matt Blazek.
In Bob’s words: “Everyday is a good day; what you do with it can make it a “great day!”
Honoree Paul Henre
Paul Henre was inducted in the US Navy on August 10, 1971 where he completed his basic training in Great Lakes Illinois.
Paul was stationed at Miramar Naval Air Station in San Diego CA and completed his ATI at the Naval Training Station in Jacksonville Florida. Paul deployed to the Tonkin Gulf in Vietnam for 18 months and was stationed on the USS Midway at that time. He did tours in Japan and the Philippines.
Paul was discharged from the US Navy in Tacoma, Washington on July 28, 1975 with the rank of A02 and returned to Crookston.
In 1977, Paul joined the Army National Guard on April 9th and served in the Guard until April 2, 2008. His rank at discharge was SSG.
Service Awards and Medals Received in Navy and Army National Guard: Primary Specialty System OMA/Infantryman, National Defense Service Medal - 3rd Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Presidential Unit Citation, Aviation Ordnanceman Petty Officer 3 & 2, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal – 2nd Award, USA/USAF Pres Unit Citation, Navy Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal – 2nd Award, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal – 8th Award, Global War on Terrorism, Humanitarian Service Award, NCO Professional Development Ribbon – 3rd Award, Army Service Ribbon, MN Good Conduct Medal – 5th Award, MN Commendation w/pen 1st Award and 2nd Award
Paul and his spouse Gail have two children: daughter - Nichole Henre Schipper and her husband Kevin Schipper and son Eric Henre. They have two grandchildren Oliver and Graham.
Paul stated how much he appreciates what he learned in the military – how to lead people and how to talk with people.
Honoree Daryl “Oscar” Meyer
Daryl “Oscar” Meyer entered the MN Army National Guard in Sauk Centre MN. Oscar stated that he followed in his father’s footsteps by joining the service. “I felt it is an obligation and honor to serve your country.”
Daryl completed his basic training at Ft. Benning Georgia with a completion date of June 1980.
Oscar’s military career began with C Co 1-136 Mech. Inf. in Sauk Centre MN from 1980-1984. He transferred to B Co 2-136 Inf. in Crookston MN and served here from 1984-2000. Oscar then served at the 1-175th Regional Training Institute at Camp Ripley from 2000-2016.
Service Awards and Medals Received: Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal - 3, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal – 10, National Defense Service Medal, Minnesota National Guard State Active Duty Ribbon – 5, Humanitarian Service Medal – 2, Armed Forces Service Medal – 3, Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development – 3, Army Service Ribbon, and Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon.
Oscar stated that RTI received two Institutions of Excellence while he served as a Branch Chief and overall Lead Trainer and Quality Assurance NCO.
Daryl was discharged from the military at Camp Ripley in June 2016 with the rank of MSG.
Oscar stated: “The military can provide you with lifetime relationships. Just look at the 4 of us, we’ve known each other since the 80s – how many people can say they have friends that long in their lifetime.”
Oscar and his spouse Arla have two children: Ashly and Josh Sherer, Karlee Meyer & Cody Kennedy. They have two grandchildren – Sophia Jo Sherer and James Paul Sherer.
Honoree Greg Newhouse
Greg Newhouse joined the Army National Guard with an induction date of February 18, 1970 in Crookston.
Greg stated that it was a fast decision. His brother joined in December of 1969. Lee Gustafson called him from the Crookston Armory and asked me if I wanted to join the Guard. He hesitated for a moment and Lee said “Either you do, or you don’t” so I said okay.
Greg completed his basic training at Fort Ord, California from May 27, 1969 to January 2, 1970. Advanced training was completed at Fort Lewis, Washington from June 2, 1970 to October 6, 1970.
He was stationed with the Crookston and Thief River Falls National Guard the entire 32 years of service. The last 20 years were AGR (Active Guard Status or fulltime).
Greg went for training at numerous bases, between 1982 and 1995. Fort Benning GA, Fort Irwin CA, Fort Dix, NJ, Fort Knox, KY, Camp Robinson at Little Rock AR, Fort Riley, KS, Fort Snelling, MN. He also trained yearly at Camp Ripley.
Most of his training was on equipment and MOS qualifications. He held MOS’s in 11B Infantry, 11MJ3 Bradley Infantry, J3IS for Master Gunner Qualified, 75H Clerk, 00E Recruiter, 79R Recruiter, 79S Re-enlist NCO, and 79T Recruiting and Retention NCO which he worked his last 6 years of service in Crookston and Thief River Falls. Greg had 23 high schools and the local colleges visiting with the Guidance Counselors to enlist young men and women in the Guard which included enlisting his daughter Kari and son Nick.
Service Awards and Medals Received: Meritorious Service Medal, 3 Army Commendation Medals, 5 Army Achievement Medals, 6 Army Good Conduct Medals, 5 Army Reserve Achievement Medals, 2 National Defense Service Medals, Humanitarian Service Medal, 3 Armed Forces Reserve Medals, 3 NCO Professional Development Medals, Army service Ribbon, Army National Guard Recruiting Badge, Career Counselor Badge, 8 State Active Duty Ribbons, Presidential Unit Citation – Luzon, MN Commendation Ribbon, Mn Service Ribbon w/30, 6 MN Good Conduct Ribbons, and 5 MN Distinguished Recruiting Ribbons.
Greg processed out of the Guard at Ft Levenworth, Kansas on December 31, 2001 with the rank of SFC- E7.
Greg and his spouse Maxine have 3 children: Kari and Dale Trudeau, Nicholas and Korbin Newhouse, and Dirk Kurpiers. They have two grandchildren Evin Trudeau and Avery Trudeau
Greg stated: “The Military teaches you that you can do almost anything if you put your mind to it.”